Photo of Bill Fong

Could a Lay-Off Be a Blessing?

Feb 5, 2023 | Blog

This may be a stretch…but I heard a story last night that reminded me of something – when something that seems awful at the time turns out to be a blessing.

Bill Fong

Bill Fong
(photo credit: D Magazine)

It was the story of bowler Bill Fong.

So, in bowling, a perfect game is 12 strikes…a score of 300. It happens so much more often than you might think. It probably happened last night in many bowling alleys.

But, what’s incredibly rare is a perfect series; 36 strikes in a row, three 300 games in succession, 36 straight strikes.

Fong shows up at the bowling alley, and in game 1 throws a perfect game. In game 2, he throws another perfect game. In game 3, he starts with 9 strikes in a row.

Now at 33 strikes in a row, the entire bowling alley is shut down to watch him, celebrating wildly with each strike.

Fong sees this, and is suddenly very dizzy, and sweating profusely. He’d never felt that way before – but thought it was just nerves and kept bowling.

He threw the 10th strike. The 11th strike. The 100+ audience is going crazy…

Last ball. Last frame. Releases it perfectly. The crowd celebrates before the ball hits the pins. The ball hits the pocket perfectly.

The 10-pin wobbles, but stays up. He missed the perfect series by 1-pin on the final throw. He throws an 899 series.

Fong was so dejected. He wobbled back to the congratulatory but disappointed bowlers who all then went back to their lanes.

He went home, and realized something was seriously wrong. He was having a stroke – and was having one while throwing the last couple of frames.

His doctors told him it was likely that his blood pressure spike and associated celebration might have killed him if he had gotten that last strike.

Missing out on a perfect series probably saved his life! What felt awful at the time turned out to be a blessing!

That’s life and death. That’s extreme.

Take that to the less extreme situations we all face. I have many friends of mine, awesome talents, who have been impacted by the purge, especially in the tech industry right now. Laid off, dejected, wondering what to do next.

That happened to me in October/November of 2001. I was basically living paycheck to paycheck, was in a job I enjoyed, but after the September 11th attack in 2001, the economy shut down, and our company was running out of cash fast. I got laid off.

Borderline depressed, I went chasing jobs and chasing money. I had to! For the next 18 months, I took one position for 6 months I very much disliked, then another for around a year. I was miserable…but that misery changed my entire career.

It was during that period that I figured out what I didn’t like doing, but also exactly what I LOVED doing. I started reading, studying, and focusing on my “macro” career” instead of the “micro” job-to-job. Eventually, I quit my job, sold everything I had, and bought a sales training franchise. While that franchise wasn’t successful, the expertise it built in me – from a deep study in selling methodology to getting to interact with 100+ sales organizations and leaders learning what they did well and what they didn’t, getting certified as a workshop facilitator, running my own business – it was like getting an MBA without going back to school.

Getting laid off may have been the best thing that ever happened to my career.

When something great happens…you probably won’t know if that initial assessment is true for quite a while.
When something awful happens…you probably won’t know if that initial assessment is true for quite a while, either. What seems like bad news may turn out to be a blessing.

Hang in there!

Caponi Logo

I speak and teach revenue organizations on how to leverage transparency and decision science to maximize their revenue capacity. It’s what I do…teach sellers, their leaders, and really entire revenue organizations the how we as human beings make decisions, then how to use that knowledge for good (not evil) in their messaging (informal and formal), negotiations and revenue leadership. I wrote a 3x award-winning book (𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘚𝘢𝘭𝘦), and have a newish book out (𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘚𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘓𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘳) now that just won its first award!

Reach out if you want to discuss The Transparency Sale sales methodology, or really…anything else (sales kickoffs, workshopskeynotes, the economy, history, etc.)! Email or call 847-999-0420.

Sign up for the newsletter for more of my nonsense in your inbox every other week, with some sales history sprinkled on top…Sign Up – The Transparent Newsletter


Other Articles You Might Enjoy

When Transparency Doesn’t Win

When Transparency Doesn’t Win

Transparent Does NOT Always Win! There, I said it. In sales and leadership, transparency wins when done correctly, through the correct lens of your responsibility. In sales, transparency done right speeds sales cycles, increases win rates, qualifies IN the...

read more
So, you want to predict the future of the sales profession? 

So, you want to predict the future of the sales profession? 

So, you want to predict the future of the sales profession?  I am no Nostradamus. I am no Miss Cleo. I don’t have conversations with spirits. However (and you may not believe me), I have successfully predicted:  “The Great Resignation” months before it became a thing:...

read more
Tech Layoffs and The Monday Morning Quarterbacks

Tech Layoffs and The Monday Morning Quarterbacks

Tech Layoffs and The Monday Morning Quarterbacks The economy. Layoffs. Banking issues. We’ve seen this story before. We know how it ends. We know we’ll see the story played out by a different cast at a later date. And guess what! After the next round, we’ll once again...

read more